November 20 (sun.) Panel 1: Keynote Speech 3

> 日本語

Joe Earle(Vice-President, and Director, Japan Society Gallery at Japan Society)

Digitization in an Age of Austerity

The Japanese Print Access and Documentation Project (JPADP) digitized and rehoused 53,000 prints in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston between 2005 and 2010 and by 2015 they will be all be available online with substantial metadata in both English and Japanese.

The JPADP started before the economic calamity of fall 2008 and the ongoing global crisis, but its mode of execution can serve as a model for future projects that will be carried out in an age of austerity. If such projects are to enjoy public or private support in future, the resulting assets (images and metadata) need to appeal to the broadest possible public.

The key features contributing to the successful completion of the project were:

  • Ruthless prioritization
  • Sound planning
  • Willingness to release imperfect data to the web
  • Excellent photography from the start
  • Maximal openness and use of volunteers

In order to improve the chance of future public and private support for Japanese-print projects of this type, the digital humanities community needs to:

  • Constantly interrogate the purpose of these huge endeavors
  • Make all resulting websites available in both English and Japanese
  • Include visual materials on the home page of all print-related websites
  • Most important of all, devise ways of making these sites interesting and attractive to the broadest possible universe of surfers and collaborators.